Thursday was a big day for the Coxless Crew. I went down to Southampton docks to oversee putting Doris into a container to be shipped to San Francisco. She will travel across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast of America before we see her again!
The drive down from London was under blue skies and it looked like it would be a beautiful day to see Doris off on her journey. Sadly, by the time we arrived at Rossiters boat yard in Christchurch some good old English rain had set in and was to last for the rest of the day. I met with the Cris and the team at Rossiters to make a few last minute adjustments to Doris. Our final Solbian solar panel was installed and some adjustments made to our Lewmar hatches and to the area on deck where we will be stowing our Crewsaver life raft.
Tony Humphreys, who will be our on-shore support during our row, was on hand to oversea the final packing of the hatches and cabins and to tow Doris on the trailer through the New Forest across to Southampton docks.
On arrival in a very very wet Southampton we had a warm welcome from the team at J&A Marshall Ltd and from Brian from PSP Logistics. Then the real fun started. I must admit, I had no idea how to go about getting a 29ft ocean rowing boat weighing nearly a tonne off a trailer and into a 40ft container! But, as ever, Tony had all the answers.
Step no.1: lift Doris off trailer using huge yellow container handler and long slings
Step no.2: lower Doris down until she is resting at one end on a small set of wheels (a dolly trolly)
Step no.3: with the stern end supported on the dolly, support the bow end by suspending it from a forklift truck and then remove the support of the slings
Step no.4: keeping Doris level, drive the forklift forward to slide her on the dolly into the container
Step no. 5: lower Doris using the forklift until she is resting on a row of tyres along the bottom of the container and then and strap her in
And it was easy as that! Thank you to everyone who helped out yesterday and along the way to get Doris ready for her journey.
Saying goodbye to Doris has made our departure suddenly feel just around the corner. It is exciting, but also a reminder of how much there is still to do before we head off to San Francisco ourselves. The next few weeks will be filled with training, press events, sponsorship meetings, fundraising and much much more, so watch this space!